NEBRASKA CITY – Col. John Hudson told a crowd of about 200 people at the US Army Corps of Engineers meeting in Nebraska City Thursday that he hopes to have contract repairs soon for four main breaches in the Missouri River levee system.
He said there are 280 miles of levee with various levels of compromise.
Most of the levee damage is on the top, where water flowed over, but there is also damage on the landward and riverside of Levee 575 between between Nebraska City and Hamburg.
Hudson: “Our first priority is to close the four main breaches that still have significant inflow. That’s two of them that are down here — one just north of Percival and one that is west of Hamburg. Then we’re going to get this huge breach that is located at the mouth of the Platte. It blew. It’s about the size of four football fields in a 62-foot deep scour hole. We need to get that one closed.”
There are over 40 breaches in the system from Council Bluffs south.
Hudson: “Those breaches have obviously wreaked havoc and great devastation here in the river valley.”
Col. Hudson, a 26-year engineer officer assigned with the Corps of Engineers for eight years, said there are over breaches in the system south of Council Bluffs.
Hudson: “This is certainly the most challenging project I’ve faced. Now the Corps has done many very challenging projects, whether it was Katrina and the levee system around New Orleans or a lot of the hurricanes, Hurricane Sandy that hit the northeast caused major damage, but this is certainly a huge and significant project to do to restore this system.”
The fourth priority is a set of three breaches north of Bartlett that is directly impacting Interstate 29.
Col. Hudson said the levee damage this spring is different than what happened in 2011. In 2011 water sat up on the side of the levee for weeks. It eventually seeped underneath and the levees blew out. This spring, the levee was overtopped by record-high water levels and eroded.
He said the Corps has funding to begin emergency repairs, but will need additional funds authorized by Congress to complete restoration.